Defendant says killing was self-defense

By Linda Looney-Bond


A College Park man accused of stabbing his lover to death in 2007 testified in Clayton County Superior Court Wednesday that he did so in self-defense.

Antonio Bernard Rome, 26, of College Park, said he stabbed Tommy Dayshawn Crooks, after Crooks charged at him with a flower pot.

The incident occurred Sept. 28, 2007, at 5966 Friar Court in College Park, while Rome was house-sitting for a friend, according to testimony in the case. A 2008 indictment charges Rome with malice murder, felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

"He [Crooks] charged after me. He was moving pretty fast," Rome told the court.

"You had difficulty fending him off when he had a four-and-a-half-inch stab to the gut?" Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers asked Rome.

"I was in a panic," Rome responded. "I was shocked the whole time, and I was scared."

During a taped interview with Clayton County Police shown in court Tuesday, Rome said that on the night of the incident, he and Crooks had been drinking cognac, watching television and having sex. He said that later, while they were watching a movie, Crooks wanted to have sex again, but Rome refused.

Rome said Crooks kept "aggravating" him, and playfully hitting him, but the playful hitting eventually turned more serious.

Later, Rome said, as he and Crooks were leaving the house, Crooks picked up a flower pot outside and raised it above his head, as if he intended to hit Rome with it.

Rome said he then pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed Crooks.

A neighbor called 911, and Crooks died at a local hospital, according to police testimony in the case. Rome was arrested later.

While on the stand Wednesday, Rome admitted that he stabbed Crooks three times.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations today.